Who Are The Gentiles?

benjamites's picture

A SCRIPTUAL study into the meaning of the terms "Gentile" and "Israelite"

All scripture references by poster KJV. I am not opposed to other translations, but just my preference.

"A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel" Luke 2:32

It is generally taught in the Christian churches of America, that the world is divided into three main religious groups - Jews, Gentiles and Christians. These religious groups teach that anyone who is not a Jew, must belong to one or the other of these remaining groups, and is either a Gentile or a Christian.

The modern definition of a "gentile" as given in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary is: "relating to the nations at large, as distinguished from the Jews."

But here is something important we MUST know, if we are to understand the Bible. The word GENTILE is not used in any of the ancient manuscripts, simply because there was no such word in the Hebrew or Greek languages. The word GENTILE as used in our modern Bible versions, including the King James Version, in the Old Testament, always comes from the Hebrew word "goy," (singular) and "goyim", (plural). It is translated five different ways in the Old Testament, according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; "goy or goyim (singular or plural)", a foreign NATION hence GENTILE; (2) HEATHEN; (3) NATION, and (4) PEOPLE, or ANOTHER."

Notice that the Hebrew word "goy, or goyim," is NEVER translated to mean "non-Jew."
The word "goy" is found in the Old Testament some 557x. 30x it has been translated GENTILE; 11x as people; 142x as heathen; 373x as NATION, and one time as ANOTHER. But not once as "non-Jew."

Let's examine a few specific verses of Scripture in the Old Testament, using the word GENTILE in place of the word NATION, as used by the translators. It should be remembered that the word "goy" or "goyim" was used in every instance in the original Hebrew.

Genesis 12:2 "I will make of thee (Abraham) a great GENTILE (nation.) Doesn't make much sense, does it?

Genesis 17:4,5 ". . . and thou (Abraham) shall be a father of many GENTILES (nations), neither shall thy name any more be called Abram; for a father of many GENTILES (nations) have I made thee."

Genesis 25:23 "And the Lord said to her (Rebekah the wife of Isaac, the son of Abraham) two GENTILES (nations) are in your womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from your bowels; the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger."

Genesis 48:19 ". . . And his seed (Abraham's descendants) shall become a multitude of GENTILES (nations)."

This kind of translation does not make much sense. But if you will look closely at your King James Version, you will find the translators used the Hebrew word "goy" as NATIONS in one place and as GENTILE in another. Could it be that they were influenced by the Church doctrine of their time, since the word GENTILE never appeared in earlier manuscripts? The King James Version, for instance was written because King James, disliked the footnotes of the Geneva Bible, which was the Bible of the Reformation fathers.

To be continued....

My disappointments in life are God's Divine appointments. Are they for you too?

"Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."

Apostle Paul ~ Ephesians 3:4-5

benjamites's picture

Who Are The Gentiles? continued

As I stated, I would continue this study. Of course there will be disagreements. Since we have translations, which The Holy Spirit will guide us into ALL TRUTH, they are the written words we use and live by. As I stated before I prefer KJV. Is it the best? Depends on who you ask. I do like a few other translations. If we move beyond the physical realm (study and understanding which is not bad in and of itself unless relying solely on this method) and accept divine revelation, The Lord can use any bible and make His Truth real to us.

I remember a lesson I once heard:

The man asked his new bride why she cut off the end of the pot roast before she cooked it. She said her mother always did. One night the young couple was having pot roast for dinner at her parents and the son in-law asked his mother in-law why she cut off the end of her pot roast. She said her mother always did and had been doing that for years. Finally, at a family reunion the curious son in-law met up with his wife's grandmother and asked why she cut off the end of her pot roasts, she said her pot was too small.

Traditions sometimes die hard. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, lets leave traditions behind and live in dynamic apostolic christianity revealed in this New Covenant era of bible prophecy.
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Study continued: refer to original post if needed.

Now for comparison let us use these same verses as the modern translations would have us use them, with "non-Jew" in the place of "tribe or nation." This should be a clear indication of how the modern translators, beginning with the King James Version, changed the meaning of these verses:

1. Genesis 12:2 "I will make of thee (Abraham a great non-Jew (nation)."

2. Genesis 17:4, 5 ". . . And thou (Abraham) shall be father of many non-Jews . . . for a father of many non-Jews have I made thee."

Let's consider this again, that the Hebrew word "goy or goyim" meaning
"tribe or nation," is used every time in the original Hebrew.

3. Genesis 35:11 "Two non-Jews are in thy (Rebekah's) womb."

4. Genesis 48:19 "Thy seed (Abraham's) shall become a great multitude of non-Jews." (Is this prediction and prophecy accurate? What school of understanding might you "belong" to if any? Dispensationalism, futurism, modernism, historisism, preterism, spiritualism? )

You can see, with a little effort, that the modern translators, using "goy" to mean GENTILE, with it's connotation of meaning "non-Jew" doesn't make very much sense. Yet this is the way most preachers translate it. (IE...seminary, tradition.)

It is also interesting to a student of grammar, that the Hebrew word "goy" and the five words which are used to translate it into English are all "collective nouns, in Hebrew and as such cannot be used to refer to an individual. These words are HEATHEN; NATION; TRIBE; PEOPLE; or simply, ANOTHER. This means there can be no such individual as a GENTILE. Do you believe you are a Gentile saved by grace?

Next, we can look at how Strong's Concordance can help us with how the word GENTILE is defined in New Testament Greek.

To be continued....

Matthew 13:11

"He (Jesus Christ) answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."

Romans 8:28-30

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

Basking in the peace that passes all understanding of and in JESUS CHRIST, The Everliving King!